On April 18, 2012 Gov. Mitt Romney held a roundtable discussion at the Bethel Park Community Center in Bethel Park (Pittsburgh), PA.  KDKA's political editor Jon Delano reported on the event.  "Escorted by four couples from the area, Gov. Mitt Romney sat down at a picnic table in Bethel Park with lemonade and cookies."  A pleasant scene.  Next the Delano's report showed Romney making some small talk...

Romney: I'm not sure about these cookies.  They don't look like you made them.  Did you make those cookies?  You didn't, did you?  No, no.  They came from the local...

Woman: Bakery.

Romney: 7-11 bakery or wherever...

Delano resumed his narration, "Turns out they were from the popular Bethel Bakery but no matter, the Governor used Tax Day to oppose the president's plan to hike the upper income tax rate." 

Delano focused the final minute and a half of the story on Romney's remarks and the discussion, although he could not resist a light note at the end, observing, "By the way the campaign did share those cookies with some of the reporters afterwards and they were terrific, as they always are from that Bethel Bakery." 

Later, appearing on Marty Griffin's KDKA radio show Delano jokingly referred to "Cookiegate."  A while later, in a tweet, Delano notes that the story "seems to have gotten some legs."  Bethel Bakery jumped in, offering a "CookieGate Special," a half a dozen free cookies for customers who buy a dozen cookies.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story, "Bethel Bakery runs 'CookieGate' special after Romney diss."  DNC rapid response helpfully forwarded that story on to other media.  One thing led to another; major news outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and CNN picked up the story (prompting Delano to comment that it must have been a slow news day).

The whole episode, silly as it is, shows how In the modern media environment, even a minor and trivial statement can get blown out of proportion—way, way out of proportion.   The Romney campaign's event was supposed to focus attention on Obama's handling of the economy, but Cookiegate went viral and completely that swept away.

Meanwhile Democrats and their allies found in Cookiegate another opportunity to bolster their narrative that Romney is out of touch:

- Allegheny County Democrats

Today in Pittsburgh: Following Romney Insult, PA Democrats Pick Up Cookies from Bethel Bakery for Public Taste Test and to Serve at County Dem Jefferson Jackson Dinner Tonight 

PITTSBURGH - Earlier this week, Mitt Romney made national headlines when he insulted the cookies from a beloved Pittsburgh area bakery. Today, Nancy Mills, Allegheny County Democratic Party Chair and Pittsburgh area Democrats will host a cookie taste test in Market Square in Pittsburgh in support of locally owned businesses. Bethel Bakery cookies will also be served at the Allegheny County Democratic Party Jefferson Jackson Dinner.

At a roundtable in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, Romney managed to simultaneously insult a respected local business and 7-Eleven. Romney said, "I'm not sure about these cookies," and teased one the roundtable participants, saying "Did you make those cookies? You didn't, did you? No. No. They came from the local 7-Eleven bakery or wherever." Romney's insult has been a topic of conversation in Pittsburgh and been widely covered in local and national news. Read here: LINK, LINK and LINK.

WHAT: Public Cookie Taste Test Competition
WHO:  Nancy Mills and local democrats
WHERE:  Market Square
WHEN: 1:00 pm

Photo Courtesy Allegheny County Democrats

Americans United for Change

Sent out a release "Romney insults local PA bakers."  The release noted, "It’s a gaff [sic] that doesn’t quite crack the “Top-25 List of Mitt Romney’s All-Time, Out-of-Touch, 1% Moments” but does rank highly among the lamest jokes Romney has attempted to make on the campaign trail and is the latest to unwittingly insult average Americans…